On Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 2:21 AM, Rustom Mody <rustompm...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Combine that with Chris':
>> Yes and no. "ASCII" means two things: Firstly, it's a mapping from the
>> letter A to the number 65, from the exclamation mark to 33, from the
>> backslash to 92, and so on. And secondly, it's an encoding of those
>> numbers into the lowest seven bits of a byte, with the high byte left
>> clear. Between those two, you get a means of representing the letter
>> 'A' as the byte 0x41, and one of them is an encoding.
> and the situation appears quite the opposite of Ethan's description:
> In the 'old world' ASCII was both mapping and encoding and so there was
> never a justification to distinguish encoding from codepoint.
> It is unicode that demands these distinctions.
> If we could magically go to a world where the number of bits in a byte was 32
> all this headache would go away. [Actually just 21 is enough!]
An ASCII mentality lets you be sloppy. That doesn't mean the
distinction doesn't exist. When I first started programming in C, int
was *always* 16 bits long and *always* little-endian (because I used
only one compiler). I could pretend that those bits in memory actually
were that integer, that there were no other ways that integer could be
encoded. That doesn't mean that encodings weren't important. And as
soon as I started working on a 32-bit OS/2 system, and my ints became
bigger, I had to concern myself with that. Even more so when I got
into networking, and byte order became important to me. And of course,
these days I work with integers that are encoded in all sorts of
different ways (a Python integer isn't just a puddle of bytes in
memory), and I generally let someone else take care of the details,
but the encodings are still there.
ASCII was once your one companion, it was all that mattered. ASCII was
once a friendly encoding, then your world was shattered. Wishing it
were somehow here again, wishing it were somehow near... sometimes it
seemed, if you just dreamed, somehow it would be here! Wishing you
could use just bytes again, knowing that you never would... dreaming
of it won't help you to do all that you dream you could!
It's time to stop chasing the phantom and start living in the Raoul
world... err, the real world. :)